The slipper was an object of fear in my household growing up. It was quite often used as a form of punishment by my father. He would inflict pain on me and my siblings, for a multitude of reasons mainly, disrespecting the religion, swearing, being disobedient (as he would say), or just because he felt like it. For those of you that don’t know what a slipper is below is the dictionary definition. Amazingly even the dictionary definition describes beating someone with a slipper, how unfortunate!
Noun – A comfortable slip-on shoe that is worn indoors.
Verb – beat (someone) with a slipper. “He didn’t slipper me hard”
I feared the slipper, as much as I feared my father at the time; he always kept it beside his bed upstairs. Getting the slipper was almost ritualistic in nature, and made much worse by my father insisting before you received this terrifying punishment you were to fetch the slipper and carry it down to him in the living room. As you can well imagine, it was the longest walk ever back downstairs. I counted every step on the way down to face the dreaded slipper. There were exactly thirteen steps, how ironic ! I still remember, even after all these years have passed. I used to rummage around on the way back down, to see if I could find anything to put in my trousers to numb the sting of the blows. I recall one time stuffing a New World Translation Bible down the back of my trousers as it was all my father had in his bedroom, because they are not allowed to read or study any other texts or literature then their own publications. As I found out, this was just further blasphemy, and ended up on the receiving end of more strokes of the slipper!
Sometimes, when no one was in the house, I used to enter his room and throw the slipper around at the walls and stamp on it. I wished I could throw it away or set it on fire. I always ensured it was placed carefully back beside the bed so it looked undisturbed.
Of course it wasn’t just me that fell victim to the dreaded slipper, I have one younger brother and three older sisters and this punishment was well underway by the time I came along! I could not recount their experiences, as when the slipper came out we all knew to hide. My favourite place was under the bunk beds in me and my brother’s bedroom, I used to keep BMX magazines and copies of The Beano under there, for this very reason. You never knew how long you would need to hide away for. My younger brother found solace sitting in the wardrobe and closing himself in. I never asked my sisters where their hiding places were.
Just as I thought things couldn’t be any worse, along came another form of punishment ….
I will cover this in my next blog post.
Thanks for reading – Love & Peace.